Author Elisa Keur
Today, I’m taking you to the world of slow and ethical fashion. If you’ve read my previous blog, you now know that fast fashion is produced without regard for the production workers (mostly women in third world countries) and the environment (all those chemicals and excessive water use!), and only adds to the trash pile (clothes that aren’t sold have to go somewhere, right?). The unsold items that are not thrown away, are simply burned, and that’s a massive waste of resources.
A new concept has risen; slow fashion. Slow fashion is good, clean, and fair. Good clothing means durable and of high quality. Items will last much longer than the average Primark T-shirt. Bonus: high-quality shows; high-quality products have a much better fit and the fabrics are beautiful.
‘Clean’ refers to a manufacturing process that doesn’t harm the environment. During production, less and less harmful chemicals are used and water usage is minimalized. The items are made of durable, natural fabrics, such as organic cotton. Organic cotton doesn’t deplete the environment in which it grows as much as ‘normal’ cotton. Plastic, the plastic soup, and microplastics are a problem. Therefore, slow fashion brands try to avoid plastic fibers as much as possible or recycle polyester. Safer for the environment and for us!
‘Fair’ means that workers are paid an honest wage and operate in safe working conditions. Their health and well-being are taken into consideration, something that often lacks with fast fashion brands.
The ‘downside’ to slow fashion is the price. Or, put differently, our clothes are too cheap. ABN Amro calculated that our jeans are €33 too cheap. So it only makes sense that fair fashion is more expensive: it pays workers an honest wage, doesn’t dump chemicals in rivers but disposes of them as they should, and better-quality fibers are used. Quality is costly.
What to do if you want to make your wardrobe more sustainable, but can’t afford ethical brands? Some tips:
- Make sure that the items in your wardrobe are worn frequently. Before you buy anything, ask yourself if you are going to wear this more than a couple of times. Does it match with the rest of your wardrobe? Does it fit you correctly and does it look good on you? Is it your style? I’m all for getting out of your comfort zone and exploring new styles, but more often than not, things that are just not you end up in the back of your closet with the price tag still attached. Waste of money and not sustainable!
- Check the quality of the product before you buy it. Are buttons and zippers of decent quality? How about the seams? Is it made from a solid fabric that doesn’t tear easily? If the answers to all those questions is ‘yes’, you found an item that’s actually made to be worn multiple times.
- You bought something that turns out to be of bad quality. After wearing it once, there’s small holes in your new T-shirt. Instead of throwing it away, repair it! Small damage is easy and cheap to repair. Find yourself a good tailor or learn how to do it yourself!
Repair lifehacks coming soon 😉
Have you banned fast fashion from your life yet? Let us know in the comments!